Comedy at the Improv with Howie Nave: Henry Phillips and Jesus Trejo perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
The Improv welcomes back comedian, musician, filmmaker and chef Henry Phillips, who has a YouTube channel devoted to his favorite recipes. The channel, “Henry’s Kitchen,” includes episodes such as, “How To Make Killer Oven Baked French Toast,” “How To Make Henry’s Romantic Sushi For a Date,” “Lip Smacking BBQ Beer Fish” and “How To Make Superbowl Chicken Pot Pie.” So diversified, this Henry!
As a comedian, Phillips’ style is somewhat dry and subdued, but it more than delivers the goods. The last time he was here, he had quite a bit to comment on when it came to relationships. I’m hoping he continues that thread — it’s funny and insightful. What really bumps up his game, though, is when he discusses those relationships via guitar. With songs such as “Maybe They Won’t Kill You” and “End of the World,” Henry’s original ditties are sarcastic and have found their way on such shows as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Bob and Tom Show” and “The Dr. Demento Show.”
Phillips has released several CDs combining his romantic ballads with lyrics that have a psychopathic slant. His critical acclaim has earned him a mention in Billboard Magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as well as positive feedback from notable recording artists like Moby, who refers to Phillips’ songs as “disconcertingly funny.” He has also written songs for two award-winning musicals: “Blake: the Musical” and “Chips.”
Lately, I’d have to say it’s Phillips’ role as a filmmaker that placed him in the national spotlight. He scored big with his semi-biographical comedy film “Punching the Clown” and received the Audience Award at the prestigious Slamdance Film Festival in 2009. He scored bigger with its sequel, “Still Punching The Clown,” which he co-wrote with director Gregori Viens. David Permut, Matt Ratner and Rick Rosenthal produced the picture, which also stars Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, comedian/actress Sarah Silverman, Mike Judge, Jim Jefferies, Derek Waters, Ellen Ratner, Ginger Gonzaga and stand-up comedians Tig Notaro, Nikki Glaser and Doug Stanhope.
Making his Tahoe debut is Los Angeles-based Jesus Trejo. He’s appeared on Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party,” Nuvo TV’s second season of “Stand-Up & Deliver,” and as a recurring cast member on the TBS sitcom “Sullivan & Son” as Javier.
Last year, Trejo participated in the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal as part of Jeff Ross’ “Roast Master’s Invitational.” This summer he was selected to be a “New Face” for this year’s event. In addition to his club and festival credits, he was on season one of “Uproarious,” a new standup show on the Fuse Network, and will be on season 2 of Jeff Ross’ “Road to Roast Battle” on Comedy Central. Not bad, huh? It’s time for Trejo to make his mark up here — then he’ll know he’s finally arrived.